Jan 23, 2002 (07:01 PM EST)
Steel City Or Silicon City?

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

The Steel City may have to change its nickname to Silicon City. Pittsburgh was the fastest growing wired city in the United States last year. A new report from Internet research firm Nielsen/NetRatings shows 1.2 million residents plugging into the Net for the first time from their homes, a growth rate of 20.4%.

Salt Lake City came in a close second, showing 20% growth in its number of Web surfers, according to the study. Rounding out the top 10 were Phoenix at 17%; Raleigh, N.C., at 13.4%; Philadelphia at 12.8%; Cleveland at 12.6%; Minneapolis at 11.2%; Los Angeles at 10.5%; Kansas City, Mo., at 9.5%; and Detroit at 8.2%. The country as a whole saw a 6% growth in home Web connections in 2001, from 98.7 million to 104.8 million.

NetRatings senior media analyst Jarvis Mak says the results point to a second wave of midsize cities catching up to their big brothers. "Larger cities have started to reach a saturation point, so their growth is a lot slower," he explains. Some major tech hubs have even showed negative growth, including San Diego, San Francisco, and Houston. "The Bay area is experiencing a sagging job market, and there's a mass exodus of people leaving."

Jarvis says that the high-growth cities in the survey could prove good places for tech firms to do business, with low costs and increasing numbers of computer-savvy citizens. A spokesman for Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy agrees. "It may come as a surprise to people around the country, but Pittsburgh is a very wired city," he says. "People think smoke and steel, not high tech, but we've got a growing high-tech industry."